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Common Sports Medicine Injuries and Prevention

Playing sports is a great way to maintain physical fitness in a fun and challenging environment, build and maintain teamwork skills, and enjoy healthy competition. However, all sports come with the risk of injury. Understanding common sports injuries and how to prevent and treat them is essential for athletes, coaches, and their support teams. Here’s an overview of some of the most common injuries in sports medicine, along with tips on prevention and treatment.

Video: Sports Medicine Expert, Dr. William Workman

1. Sprains and Strains

LC1_0210Sprains involve the stretching or tearing of ligaments—the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to each other. While strains, on the other hand, involve muscles or tendons (which connect muscles to bones). Both injuries can result from overuse, improper technique, or accidents.


  • Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Proper warm-up and cool-down routines are crucial to prepare the body for physical activity and aid in recovery.
  • Strength Training: Strengthening muscles around joints can provide better support and reduce the risk of strains.
  • Proper Technique: Learning and maintaining correct techniques in sports can prevent undue stress on muscles and ligaments.


  • RICE Method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are the first steps to treat sprains and strains.
  • Physical Therapy: For severe injuries, physical therapy may be necessary to restore strength and flexibility.

2. Knee Injuries

Knee PainKnee injuries, including ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears, meniscus tears, and patellar tendinitis, are common, especially in sports that involve running, jumping, and sudden changes in direction like basketball and tennis.


  • Strength and Flexibility: Strengthening the muscles around the knee and maintaining flexibility can help stabilize the joint.
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing shoes that provide adequate support and are appropriate for the sport can prevent knee injuries.
  • Neuromuscular Training: Exercises that improve balance, coordination, and agility can reduce the risk of ACL injuries.


  • Rest and Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Initial treatment may involve rest and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is crucial for recovery and preventing further injury while rehabilitating.
  • Surgery: Severe injuries, such as ACL tears, often require surgical intervention followed by extensive rehabilitation.

3. Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder’s wide range of motion and involvement in all arm movements makes it susceptible to injuries such as rotator cuff tears, dislocations, and tendinitis.


  • Strengthening Exercises: Exercises that target the shoulder muscles can provide better support and stability.
  • Ensuring Proper Technique: Using correct techniques in throwing and overhead movements can prevent undue stress on the shoulder.
  • Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest between activities helps prevent overuse injuries.


  • RICE Method: Initial treatment for shoulder injuries often involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises are essential to restore range of motion and strength.
  • Surgery: In cases of severe tears or dislocations, surgical intervention may be required.


4. Ankle Injuries

Ankle sprains are among the most common sports injuries, occurring frequently in sports that involve running, jumping, and quick directional changes, similar to knee injuries.


  • Ankle Strengthening: Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle can provide better support.
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing supportive shoes appropriate for the sport can prevent ankle injuries.
  • Taping or Bracing: Using tape or braces during high-risk activities can provide extra support.


  • RICE Method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are key for initial treatment.
  • Rehabilitation: Physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility and prevent future injuries.

5. Concussions

Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, are common in contact sports such as football, soccer, and hockey. They result from a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and upper body.


  • Proper Equipment: Wearing appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, can reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • Education: Educating athletes, coaches, and parents about the signs and symptoms of concussions can ensure prompt and proper treatment.


  • Immediate Medical Attention: Any suspected concussion should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
  • Rest: Both physical and cognitive rest are crucial following a concussion.
  • Gradual Return to Play: Athletes should follow a step-by-step protocol for returning to play, under medical supervision.

Injuries are an inevitable part of sports, but with proper prevention and treatment strategies, their impact can be minimized. Warm-ups, strength training, and using the correct techniques are key preventive measures. In the event of an injury, early intervention with the RICE method and appropriate medical care is essential. 

Video: Sports Medicine Expert, Dr. Brett Shore


Sometimes, persistent injuries can escalate and treatment will need to be upgraded from conservative care. If you’re experiencing pain from any of these common sports medicine injuries that you just can’t shake, reach out to schedule a consultation with one of DISC’s sports medicine specialists. Treatment options at DISC are wide-ranging and don’t always include surgery, but will always be personalized from our compassionate and highly-trained staff.

Pain Management at DISC



About the author

discmdgroup DISC Sports and Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques. Our individually picked, highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient, and a zero MRSA infection rate. Read more articles by discmdgroup.

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